The world is on the move. People are traveling more now than ever before. In fact, according to a report by the World Tourism Organization, it is estimated that by 2030 around 8.5 billion people will take approximately 2 billion international trips – all thanks to tech and the IoT.
In another lifetime, traveling was all brochures, guidebooks, word-of-mouth, and phoning places to make reservations. Online check-in was wishful thinking, you wrote letters, sent postcards, and prayed that your thumb was well away from the camera lens while you were snapping holiday pics.
Travel has come a long way. Smartphones, AI, electronic payments, and social media have, for better and worse, changed the way we travel in a myriad of ways. Today’s globetrotters travel faster, safer, and with helpful tools and apps that let us do it more frequently. We’ve eschewed travel brochures and travel agents for Instagram, and traveler’s cheques for mobile payments.
Even the art of packing has changed. Thanks to an abundance of new travel tech accessories, the phrase “less is more” has never been more relevant! Books and Ipods have been replaced by Kindle and Spotify. Language guides have been exchanged for apps like Duolingo, we can watch movies from devices the size of an A4 page and the world let out a heartfelt sigh of relief when GPS replaced those oversized, coffee-stained maps that were impossible to refold!
When you have a 20kg limit to work with, space is as valuable as gold. This is especially true when you’re thinking about what to pack for an African overland tour. All you have to work with is a backpack and a day bag, so packing sensibly is essential.
Best African Overland Tours to test your Latest Travel Tech:
Starts & Ends
Starts: Cape Town Ends: Nairobi
South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya
Safari drives in the Serengeti? Check! A river Cruise in Chobe National Park? Check. Comfortable accommodation? Big Check! We’ve left no stone unturned when putting together this legendary itinerary. All you need to do is kick back discover the stunning wilderness and vibrant cultures of eight countries across the continent. This is how you travel Africa.
Starts & Ends
Starts: Dar es Salaam Ends: Cape Town
Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa
Powdery beaches backed by massive baobabs, the billowing sails of wooden dhows, electric blue waters teeming with rainbow clouds of tropical fish - this isn't a dream, it’s day one of your adventure and it only gets better from here. This paradise-inspired trip hits all the spots, taking you from the go-slow island vibe of Zanzibar to the slick cosmopolitan feel of Cape Town. Top it off with open-top safaris in Chobe and wilderness excursions in Okavango. Now, this is how you travel Africa.
Starts & Ends
Starts: Dar es Salaam Ends: Pretoria
Discover where the wild things really are on this eye-opening trip across the mother land. This 22 day African adventure puts you up close and personal with some of the continent’s most prized highlights. From Zanzibar’s exotic Spice Route to the shimmering mass of Lake Malawi, the heart-pounding roar of Victoria Falls, and the golden bushveld of the Kruger Park - you're sure to tick off numerous items from that travel bucket list.
Of course, there are obvious items such as headphones, power banks, and kindles. But, there’s a bunch of other tech and travel accessories that will make your African Overland Tour a breeze. Here, we’ve rounded up our favorite current and future travel tech gadgets that are revolutionizing the way we travel.
Anti-motion sickness glasses
Life on the road while on an African overland tour is spellbinding and looking out the window is the unsung highlight of the adventure – that is, unless you’re prone to motion sickness.
As advanced as our tech is, our brains still get plenty of mixed signals. In the case of motion sickness, our eyes and limbs are telling us we are stationary, but our balance sensors tell us the opposite. The primitive part of our human brains interprets this as if the body has been poisoned which then sends sufferers racing to find the nearest sick bag or bathroom.
Luckily, help is at hand thanks to travel tech made by Citroën. These strange-looking glasses will probably never be a fashion-tech trend, but for somebody who regularly suffers from motion sickness, they are 2019’s ultimate travel accessory.
The glasses feature colored liquid in the four rings around the eyes which recreate the horizon line to resolve the conflict between the senses that causes sickness. After 10 to 12 minutes, they enable the mind to synchronize with the movement perceived by the inner ear. The best part is that there aren’t any lenses in the frames, which means you can wear them over your actual glasses, and, at around €99, they’re relatively inexpensive.
Video Recording Contact Lenses and Olloclip Multi-Device 3-in-1
When it comes to overlanding in Africa there are no guarantees save for the fact that you’ll want to take plenty of videos and photos. But, the downside to this is having to carry around really expensive and often heavy gear. Enter Sony’s smart video recording contact lens.
These near-invisible contacts give users the ability to record their surroundings and playback videos with a few deliberate blinks. The data storage and image capture tech are in the iris of the lens, and it’s said to come with an organic electro-luminescent display screen that will allow you to playback your recorded videos, view your photographs and more.
This is the future of wearable travel tech, but if the idea of VR contact lenses conjures up Minority Report level anxiety then breathe easy. These futuristic wearables are still in the patent phase and tech manufacturers have major kinks to iron out before smart lenses become a day to day reality.
Until then, consider ditching your bulky DSLR for Olloclip’s Multi-Device 3-in-1 lenses. Smartphone cameras have improved by leaps and bounds in recent years, to the point that today’s flagships – like the iPhone XS and Google Pixel 3 – are on par with some dedicated cameras. Add a high-quality detachable lense to it and you’ll have all you need for some epic travel pics plus some extra space in your bag.
NASA-inspired underwear and the Scrubba Wash Bag
Overpackers, rejoice! The clothing company, OrganicBasics, claims to hold the key to cutting down on your luggage.
This Danish-based start-up has created a new line of underwear, t-shirts, and even yoga-wear that can (apparently) go weeks without washing. While the thought of reusing your underwear for days – even to get your suitcase under the weight limit – might gross out even the most seasoned travelers, the clothing line is said to be made using “NASA-inspired” technology to keep clothing free from odors and bacteria.
Those not sold on the idea should opt for a scrubba wash bag, aka the world’s smallest washing machine. With only 2-4 liters of water and a bit of washing liquid, you’ll have your clothes fresh and clean in less than 3 minutes. So yeah, we think it’s pretty safe to say it’s one of the best travel gadgets for campers, backpackers, and anyone venturing off the beaten path. Just be sure to pack wash and wear style clothing.
Compression packing cubes and the smallest automated travel vacuum
You can’t bear the idea of reusable clothing, the scrubba bag still hasn’t halved your clothing requirements and you’ve tried every packing method there is to squeeze more stuff into your suitcase. Finally, you sit on top of it to force the zips to come together and quickly wish you had not as they rip into your favorite t-shirt. Luckily, help is easy to come by in the form of compression packing cubes.
These are the ultimate travel accessory for over packers as they feature airtight compression, allowing you to save space and fit more in your suitcase. These cubes are more durable than plastic compression bags of the past, and also help keep your clothing dry and organized.
If compression cubes seem like a hassle then opt for an automated travel vacuum. VAGO is the ultimate travel packing gadget. Equipped with a pressure detecting sensor, this automatic vacuum pump removes all the air inside your backpack, condensing the clothes to half their size. It’s an essential travel tool to have for an African overland tour, allowing you plenty of room for souvenirs and other things you may buy on your trip.
A water purifier bottle
Health and safety is a major factor when planning any kind of travel – especially useful when venturing into remote locations like Africa. While malaria and ebola warnings are plastered on most Africa travel guides, traveler’s diarrhea is one of the most underrated infections.
Don’t get me wrong, you should take every precaution against contracting Malaria, Ebola and other major diseases. But, don’t let this one slip past you. Traveler’s diarrhea is a digestive tract disorder commonly caused by contaminated drinking water. So having some kind of water purification system is essential when traveling abroad.
Fortunately, these days there are many travel accessories designed specifically for this, such as the GRAYL’s Ultralight Purifier. This state-of-the-art device is capable of transforming almost any water source – from hotel sinks, beachside taco stands, public bathrooms, and spigots, as well as rivers and lakes – into pure drinking water in just a matter of seconds. It’s the perfect travel accessory to take on your African safari adventure because it gives you safe drinking water on the go, while at the same time, saving money on bottled water.
A floating backpack
Since hardshell suitcases are a no-go on an overland tour, you’ll need to find a comfortable backpack and can carry all your essentials. Enter, the floating backpack aka the HoverGlide.
Developed by a muscle physiology expert and professor at the University of Pennsylvania to reduce the large loads Special Operation Forces have to carry, this ingenious backpack will be your favorite travel accessory.
The HoverGlide pack uses a double-frame and pulley system with elastic bungee cords to suspend the load from the frame itself. As you move, the pack glides up and down along this system which dramatically reduces the impact on those carrying it by up to 86% while running and 82% while walking.
These revolutionary backpacks range in size from 28 liters to 55 liters and retail from $349 to $449 depending on size. See – they’ve even made your wallet lighter.
All in one wifi and power bank
Nowadays, everything is wireless, portable, or available in an app. Tech has been optimized for convenience but two of the most common problems we face are a lack of wifi or a dead battery.
Introducing the ultimate connectivity companion for your safari to Africa. The Skyroam Solis is a portable 4G LTE Wifi Hotspot and power bank that guarantees connectivity in over 130 countries worldwide – including iconic safari destinations such as Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, and Zambia. It’s perfect for staying in touch while exploring Africa’s remote destinations.
6 More Useful Gadgets To Have When Traveling Africa
The rise of tech and rapid development of urban spaces has people longing for the idea of an all-natural oasis to retreat to. And, traveling in Africa is often sold as that nirvana. We want to get back in touch with nature, hear the sound of a lion roar with our own two ears and watch the dusty gold sunset in the flesh instead of 4K.
But, the whole truth is that human beings are creatures of comfort, and if we dig deep we have to admit that not many of us are really willing to give up the convenience that technology brings to our travels – even if it is for just a few days.
So, if you’re planning an overland tour but have a few limits to your definition of “rugged” then here are a few travel tech accessories to have when traveling in Africa.
1. JYDMIX All in one universal travel adapter
2. Soluser portable solar charger
3. TRLT travel pillow
4. USB rechargeable batteries
5. Trakdot luggage tracker
6. Compressed tablet towels